30 Years Since Jason Lives: A Look Back At ‘Friday The 13th VI’

We Look Back At The Movie That Changed The ‘Friday The 13th’ Franchise Forever!

It’s hard being one of the longest running horror franchises. You have to remain fresh with new ideas. There is a new ‘Friday The 13th’ film scheduled for 2017 and they have to find ways to be original. Now, imagine how the creators of 1986’s ‘Jason Lives’ felt. They had the task of following a critical and commercial bomb titled ‘Friday The 13th: Part 5’. Also, you had the hype of bringing back the Jason Voorhees we know. The film turned out to be a re-invention of the franchise and pushed the boundaries of what slashers could be.

The director of ‘Friday The 13th VI: Jason Lives‘ Tom McLoughlin was given the chance to create something spectacular and fun for the character of Jason. Inspired by Universal Horror pictures and the director’s comedy background, audiences received a proper departure from previous films without disrespecting previous installments. Recurring character Tommy Jarvis brings Jason back to life in a Frankenstein homage; turning Jason Voorhees into an zombie-like character. It helps explains why we can have the slasher come back to life so easily and adds something new to the character.

These changes started creating a more well-rounded film and made the film feel more involved with the fans. With the meta humor, ‘Jason Lives‘ feels like a pre-cursor for iconic self-referential film ‘Scream‘. Characters are aware that maniacs like Jason exist and we get subtle humor sprinkled throughout.

“I’ve seen enough horror movies to know any weirdo wearing a mask is never friendly.”
-Lizabeth (‘Jason Lives‘)

For years the films seemed behind the times but ‘Jason Lives‘ tried to get in touch with the mainstream. Their biggest attempt was connecting with rocker Alice Cooper who provided 3 songs for the film, one being the film’s theme song. 1980’s was about connecting rock & roll with your project but this seemed like a failed attempt to make Jason cool.


It seemed like audiences didn’t agree with attempts at bringing back hardcore fans. Maybe they were jagged by the last film or tired of slashers but it failed at the box-office. ‘Jason Lives‘ lost out to ‘Aliens‘ for the first place spot during its opening weekend. It also became the lowest grossing film in the franchise at the time.

Even when changing the format in a positive way, the film tanked but ended up doing well on home video sales. Since ‘Jason Lives‘, the other ‘Friday The 13th‘ films have featured zombie Jason introduced here. Sadly, we weren’t treated to the same intelligent humor featured in Part 6.

30 years since the release, I admire what this movie has done for Friday The 13th and the horror genre. Jason Voorhees never seemed so brutal but this is also a chance to cheer for the villain. ‘Friday The 13th VI‘ remains one of the best of the 12 deep film franchise. Only the original & ‘The Final Chapter‘ rate higher than this.

Jason Lives

Do you like ‘Friday The 13th VI: Jason Lives‘?

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EJ Moreno
EJ Morenohttp://Vimeo.com/EJMoreno
Who is EJ Moreno? Is he a trained physician? No. Is he a former Miss Universe contestant? Possibly. With a bachelors degree in film and a love of pop culture, he brings an alternative view to the world of pop culture journalism. Follow him on Twitter @EJKhryst and check out his film work at Vimeo.com/ejmoreno